The ashes belonging to the man behind Breakfast at Tiffanys and In Cold Blood have a starting price of $2,000
Truman Capote is to have a final, macabre whirl of celebrity by having his ashes auctioned off in Los Angeles starting price $2,000.
The remains, contained in a carved Japanese box, will go on the block in September, 32 years after Capotes death.
Whether the author of In Cold Blood would appreciate his ashes being sold off in cold commerce is an open question, but the man flogging them has no doubt.
With some celebrities this wouldnt be tasteful, but I know 100% he would love it, Darren Julien, president of Juliens Auctions, told the Guardian. He loved to create press opportunities and to read his name in the paper. I think he would love it that hes still grabbing headlines today.
The ashes are part of the estate of Joanne Carson, the late wife of former Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, who died last year. Carson was a close friend of Capote and hosted him at her Bel-Air mansion, where he died of liver disease in 1984, aged 59.
The estates executors were unsure what to do with the ashes, but after some ethical deliberation they decided to include them in the 24 September auction, Julien said.
In this case its absolutely fine because it really embodies what Truman Capote was and what he loved to do, Julien said. Truman told Joanne that he didnt want his ashes to sit on a shelf. So this is a different way of honouring his request. It is just furthering the adventures of Truman Capote.
It is unlikely that even the imagination behind Breakfast at Tiffanys and the non-fiction novel could have anticipated ending up as lot 517 starting price $2,000, estimated price $4,000-$6,000 at an auction house at 3327 La Cienega Place, tucked between a Food Express and Five Four Clothing store.
Julien said that to his knowledge it was the first time human ashes had been auctioned. Its never been done. This will be right up there.
Julien said Capote fans and collectors had expressed interest in the ashes and predicted they would fetch a lot more than $6,000. The one thing about Truman Capote is hes highly collectible. People collect because they like to show things off. Or they become conversation pieces. This is the ultimate conversation piece.
Capote, born in Louisiana, began writing fiction aged 11 and started work as a copyboy at the New Yorker. In Cold Blood, his true-life chronicle of the slaying of the Clutter family in Kansas, published in 1966, was a literary milestone that rocketed him to fame and prestige.
Critics, however, accused the author of wanting the murderers, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, to hang to enhance the books power. Capote never repeated the books literary heights book but kept a high profile through society hobnobbing, television appearances and gleeful gossiping.
Upon cremation, his remains were kept in the room where he died. Thieves reportedly stole them twice but they were recovered each time. Producers of the Broadway version of Breakfast at Tiffanys invited the ashes to the 2013 opening gala but Carson, fearing another scare, kept them in Bel-Air.
Julien said with the right buyer Capote may find himself back in his beloved Manhattan. Hopefully its a New York buyer so he can go home. Or someone that travels a lot and can take him with them.